If you have been following this Blog over the last few days – thank you if you did -, you have noted that recent posts were mainly dedicated to Twitter. As this Blog is not solely meant to Twitter, I wanted to clarify that this is merely the result of my relative inexperience with this channel. I only have been an active Twitterer since the first week of last month. I have expressed my scepticism about the added value to the hotel industry of Twitter and during these 6 weeks I have been trying to grasp the dynamics of the medium in learning by doing, while I am the first to admit that not even all of my suggestions are implemented in our own resorts (yet), due to holidays and other (marketing) priorities. In practicing, I wanted to share my experiences.
I argue that Twitter is the least understood, but hottest social network right now. Chances are good it will be around for some time and here in the Algarve we still have a long way to go, creating some competitive advantage when done well from the beginning.
Twitter –as any other Social Media channel for that matter- is about building a 2-way relationship and automation of Twitter can be instrumental in this process. Having said this, automation is rather controversial; social media is about personal contact, discussion and sharing, while automation typically is associated with auto-response messages and messaging clutter. Even more, there are Tweepl out there that say to hate automated DM responses – even if they automatically alternate over time – and will just not follow you back. Part of automation might be that on regular intervals you repeat a particular message during a day and I do not particularily object to that, certainly if you have clients in different timezones.
In addition you can make it seem less repetitive in using different copy for the same message. When posting yesterday’s “Twitter Tactics for Hotels to grow their Following” I tested the messages in the table underneath with varying results:
|1. Twitter Tactics for Hotels to grow their Following||3|
|2. What are the #Twitter Tactics of your #Hotel|
|3. Would you follow your own #Hotel||1||1|
|4. #Twitter Strategies to grow your #Hotel’s following||1|
|5. HOW TO grow your #Hotel’s Following||1|
|6. Is your #Hotel follow worthy||3||1|
|7. Why does your #Hotel not have a quality following||2|
It is time-consuming to write live tweets all day long and then be available to post them and Twitter marketing automation is surely not about pursuing a sheer volume of followers. At the end of the day – within your strategy and (time) commitment – the quality of your followers and how engaged they are with what you have to say is what makes or breaks Twitter’s effectiveness for marketing your hotel. Althought the above 7 sample messages were not automated, automation tools give hotel marketers the ability, without having to go back through the creative process, to manipulate and test different messages and to get fresh content out there.
There are many (free) automatic tools that can help with managing your hotel’s Twitter marketing campaigns, such as Tweetadder, while e.g. Socialoomph for me personally just works fine with respect to scheduling various tweets and DMs.
However, if you want to take this a step further, there are some compelling reasons automation can be useful; you can search by keywords in profile data, location, followers of another user, followed by another user etc. If applied correctly for some routine tasks, while maintaining your personal touch, an automated tweet stream sets you free to deal with your hotel guests.
When you have gained the trust of your followers, you can weave in a sales within the scope of your other hotel Tweets. For inspiration see the post: “What does your Hotel Tweet about? Some practical Examples”. I would think that a sales message every 1 in 10 would do you no harm, but you will need to check those that unfollow you and see what kind of messages triggered such action. You might just try to win them back with a followup incentive message in retaining them – certainly if this was a past guest or a member of your Hotel’s Loyalty Program.
I have said it before, Social Media and also automation cannot replace your human interaction with (potential) customers. Sharing a set of automated emails, photos, videos and promos will not magically generate your hotel business – although compelling content will provide value and a basis for engagement.
Has your hotel automated your Twitter messages? Share your experiences and comments underneath!